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Troubleshooting Tips for your Z-Wave Mesh

Peter Borchers
March 21, 2023
Troubleshooting Tips for your Z-Wave Mesh

If you use Z-Wave devices long enough, you’re going to run into, well, let’s call them quirks. If you notice devices slowing down or not responding, this can be caused by a variety of factors. Moving devices around or improperly removing devices from your mesh can lead to issues, but even if you haven't made any changes to your devices, they can go bad on their own or other environmental factors can affect their performance.

Here are some things you can look for when troubleshooting your Z-Wave mesh.

Look for “Ghost” or stranded Nodes

If you tried to include a device and it failed or you removed a device from your devices list without running the exclude process, it can leave behind a “ghost node.” These spooky little things can cause network problems when the mesh tries to route communication through devices that don’t actually exist. These can be found in the Z-Wave Details page on your hub. Look for a row that has no device linked to the hub and remove the row. 

Sometimes the radio may not want to let a device go.  In that case, click the "Refresh" button for the node you'd like to remove. After the page reloads, then click remove. Please note that if the node doesn't show as failed after the page reloads, you may need to refresh your browser using the browser refresh button.

Beware of Chatty Devices

If things are slowing down, look for “chatty” devices in your mesh. You usually see these pretty quickly by opening your logs and noticing devices that are constantly sending messages to your hub. New devices with power reporting and energy monitoring often default to reporting at such a rate that it can slow down your entire mesh mesh. Do you really need every device in your house sending a power update to the hub every millisecond? Probably not. We recommend you go into your device details after adding a device and setting the power reporting preferences to something more reasonable and turn them off if you don’t have a need for them. 


Are All Devices in Range?

Z-Wave range can vary greatly depending on your environment. It is best practice to include your devices in the location they will be used. If you move a device after it has been included, you risk not only putting that device out of range (creating a “ghost node”), but also affecting the communication of other devices that are using that device as part of their mesh. If a device cannot pair in its final destination, you may need to add repeating devices (any Z-Wave device that is plugged in or directly connected to mains power) between the device you are trying to add and the hub. 


Secured Inclusion vs Insecure Inclusion

S2 (S0) security is required for devices that allow access to your home, such as locks and garage door openers. But for devices such as sensors and bulbs, the encryption is optional. While many of these devices support S2 security, some may be running outdated firmware. If you notice in hub's Logs that a device failed S2 bootstrapping, then the device firmware may need to be updated. Generally, devices included with S0 or even newer S2 encryption will cause your mesh to slow down. Pairing devices without S2 or S0 security, is the easiest way to avoid these issues.


Not all devices are created equal

Remember, a quality mesh is built with quality devices. To avoid running into Z-Wave troubles, carefully select reputable devices that are known to work well with other devices, and not against them. We encourage you to search online and in our community before purchasing a Z-Wave device. The time spent on carefully selecting reliable devices will spare you a lot of time and frustration when maintaining the Z-Wave mesh.

These are the first things to look for to maintain a healthy Z-Wave mesh. For more persistent issues, you can dive into much deeper into troubleshooting in our documentation. 

Remember, be good to your Z-Wave mesh and your Z-Wave mesh will be good to you. 

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